Foreigner of Luxury

December 1, 2003   

I went back today to what my friend calls "Ellis Island:" the headquarters of the Policia Nacional for immigration, where a month ago I completed all the paper work to become a temporary resident of Spain. I reminded my friend, when he first mentioned the island that at least half of my family was lucky enough to pass through, that there are many people is the States who cannot identify their passing to America with the wonderful choice of natural human migration, and despite the long lines us Ellis Islanders and Policia Nacionalers have to go through to achieve legal residency status, at least when we leave we are “legal” and free. In the USA, others have not been so lucky.

Either way, I must have been one of the people in the line with the least at stake. I waited for about 40 minutes to get inside the building, and then headed to the counter where I could pick up my student residency card, and waited there about ten minutes more. While in line, I thought for a moment about something I had heard about people like me: we’re “extranjeros de ocio,” or foreigners by luxury. Anyways, finally I got my card. I was so excited! When I came home I showed the Casa do Brasil crew, and told them “Ahora soy español! I guess I’m Spanish now, except for that “Extrajero” printed on my card and the expiration in nine months. Whatever.

The exciting part of it all is that while traveling in the European Union, I need not carry my passport. As an official resident of a EU country, the whole “no boarders” thing applies to me. Nice.

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